Tuesday, 23 August 2016

When It Hurts

Just as pregnancy loss is an isolating experience, I am coming to find that pregnancy after loss can carry much of the same silence and awkwardness.

When I first started telling people about this little one, responses ranged from "How far along are you this time?" to "This time will be different." I also received many subdued "Congratulations" that almost seemed to have an undertone of doubt or even disbelief. I also had a couple of "Again?!" I'm not sure if this was due to the number of previous losses (people were quick to suggest we look at adoption after our last loss), or the short time between our last loss and this baby. I would have liked just one positive "Congratulations!" I knew that people would ask how far, that's one of the reasons we waited till we passed the 8 week point of our last loss before telling even family.

I have also found it hard to talk about my own feelings about this pregnancy. I'm constantly being told off for saying "if" but it is just not possible for me to say '"when" yet. I try to explain that it is not negativity, or even worry and anxiety - it is realism. I have been on the wrong side of the odds too many times to take anything for granted. I also can't talk about the fact that I am still mourning all our lost babies, but also still processing our loss from April and trying to get my head around the fact that if that baby had lived then we wouldn't have our little girl. I just get uncomprehending stares in return. I have people ask me why I am feeling sad, down or withdrawn, after all, I should be happy to be pregnant.

The thing I am finding most difficult at the moment is the feeling that I should be having a happy and painless pregnancy because I am lucky enough to actually be pregnant again. I guess this came to a head after reading a fellow loss mum's comment on an infertility group I was part of. It was basically along the lines of "I wouldn't complain about anything if I was pregnant, don't these women know how lucky they are? I can't stand hearing it!"

I found this really confronting, as while I am thankful beyond belief to be carrying this little one, the pregnancy itself is difficult for me. I truly believe I will do whatever it takes to get her here safely, but should I just have to grin and bear the pain? On top of the daily progesterone and the fatigue this causes (which is nothing more than an inconvenience), and the gestational diabetes, my back injury is starting to play up and the nerve pain in my leg is almost excruciating. At the moment, I can barely walk for 5 minutes before it becomes too much. I am also having troubles with round ligament pain and SPD.

Yes I am getting a support band, yes I have seen the physio, yes I am starting up hydro therapy again this week... but just because I am blessed to be pregnant again does that mean I can't say the words, "My leg is really hurting today."

I never expect everyone to understand what this experience feels like, and I know there are many women who would give anything to fall pregnant, but just as we don't expect them to suffer their losses in silence, why should the experience of pregnancy after loss be somehow immune from this kind of freedom and support?

Pregnancy is tough. Pregnancy after loss is tough.

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